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Odd-looking Military Aircraft in the Alaskan Wilderness

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posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 02:04 AM
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Originally posted by airforcephotographer
reply to post by BlasteR
 


Sir,

This is all a good theory. But I am an Air Force photographer stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base. I flew to the above-mentioned location in a C-12 yesterday to take pictures of the C-17's stationed here doing dirt-landings and assisting in an Army Pre-Deployment Training Exercise. All the airstrip is used for is practicing dirt landings. Nothing special about it really. The remote location is only to keep the complaints down from locals on the noise, dust disturbance etc. that this causes with each landing. Also it is close to a sister Army base and gives us a good location in assisting with their many exercises in which they are not equipped to practice air-exercise. Please let me know if you have any other questions on this particular landing strip. Thanks!

SrA Laura ------


Thanks E-4 Laura!

Yes! Also, from what everyone's been posting and from what I can gather, this is apparently a landing strip built for training purposes and your post confirms this. You can see one of my earlier posts for a photo of a C-17 taking off from here that was part of a local publication in Delta Junction right after the airstrip was built.

It is referred to, in this particular publication, as the "Donnelly Assault Strip" as it lies right next to the fairly large "Donnelly Training Area", which used by the army and operated from Army facilities at the "Black Rapids" training complex further South of Fort Greely, off the Richardson Highway.

But the question still remains as to what these aircraft are (see thread title) as the aircraft dimensions I've provided don't match up with any of the more well-known aircraft in use by our military. Based on aircraft characteristics and overall dimensions, we've ruled out the alternatives so far..

The F-15, F-35, F-22, we've even run down the list of some pretty exotic UAV/UCAV aircraft but none of them seem to match up with what we're seeing. They appear to be twin-engine aircraft with a delta-wing configuration

The fact that this is an active military airstrip (primarily used by the Air Force, apparently) would seem to rule out the possibility of decoys and/or fake aircraft, would it not?

It would mean that these are real aircraft using the airstrip for intermittent training sorties. Only, none of the Air Force Bases in Alaska have aircraft quite like those in the photos. The closest thing, as previously mentioned by another member, would be F-15's (which are stationed at Elmendorf). Only the F-15 is far too large to be what we're seeing in the photos. My second thought was the F-22. When I was stationed at Eielson, I had heard that Elmendorf would eventually start getting them. But the F-22 is also the wrong dimensions.

-ChriS




posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 02:07 AM
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reply to post by BlasteR
 


Care to elaborate on the dirt runway aspect of it?



posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 02:10 AM
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Just to update you guys on the status of your friendly neighborhood OP for this thread..

Anyone that's worked in civil service or private-sector contracting for the government knows that the end of the fiscal year is a pretty insane and hectic time for everyone involved since the government tries to get as much done as it can as it runs against the clock.

I'm going to keep responding to questions and other posts as the thread continues. But until the craziness subsides, my presence on ATS will be somewhat limited on my off-time (which is pretty scarce these days).

Please continue the discussion (It's a good one!) and I'll pop in now and again to chime in.

-ChriS



posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 02:25 AM
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Originally posted by RoofMonkey
Dunno what it is... but everyone seems to miss the size issue then they pop in and identify these things.

Length: ~ 31 feet for the body, ~ 38 feet nose to tip of the tail.

Wingspan: ~ 28 feet

Body width ~ 10 feet.


Thanks for keeping things in perspective for everyone. People are definately overlooking the size issue and we keep having to clarify why these are not F-15's, F-22's, or F-35's (just as examples here). All good guesses, but the members are overlooking the dimensions, geometry, and overall characteristics of the aircraft shown in Google Earth.

We should keep in mind what we're dealing with..

This is apparently a small, twin-engine aircraft with two vertical stabilizers slightly canted/angled upwards (They similar to an F-22 in this regard). Though the dimensions are quite different from the F-22 and F-35. It is obviously not the F-16 (someone mentioned that earlier).

1- The F-16 is a single engine fighter.
2- The dimensions of the F-16 conflict with what we see in the photos.
3- The F-16 has one vertical stabilizer, not 2.

Quite simply, most of the (known/unlcassified) aircraft in the inventory are too large. This aircraft in the Google Earth image appear closer in size to larger variants of UCAV's developed by the Europeans over the years as has been previously discussed in this thread, though the dimensions of these airplanes also conflicts with any known UCAV in existence that has been pointed out so far.

I think this is gonna require a little more detective work and I welcome any and all ATS members who can help us out in this regard. I'm not even sure what's left that we haven't ruled out yet but the list has to be pretty small.

We've already ruled out virtually every known military aircraft in our inventory.

-ChriS



posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 03:12 AM
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So ummm Chris... can't you just rent an ATV and have a look? I mean your clearance oughtta get you at least as far as "Gee guys... sorry I took a wrong turn... didn't know you were back here" if they catch ya... I mean it's not YOUR fault they are lurking in the bush



Or maybe find that lady photographer that called you Sir... and buy her a drink or three... see if she will let you peek... at the pictures she took


[edit on 8-9-2009 by zorgon]



posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 03:27 AM
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reply to post by ajsr71
 


There are a few problems with the idea of aircraft-mockups for bomb runs (for training purposes).

Despite the fact that the mock-ups in the photo you posted are nothing like what we see in Google Earth, The Air Force uses (and has used) just about eveyrthing for bomb training purposes at the Ranges adjacent to Eielson AFB. For Red-Flag training purposes, these ranges are used just as they would be for standard training sorties for aircraft actually stationed there. Cope Thunder sometimes involved dropping/firing live munitions (live conventional bombs and/or missiles) which always occur at one of a few different range areas near Eielson AFB. When I went through Airman Leadership School (ALS) I met a guy who worked in CE and his job duties were based around maintaining the bomb ranges and setting up targets for the pilots. Sometimes they'll use old, broken down vehicles like humvees and pickup trucks. Sometimes they'll actually set up a mock convoys.. Stuff like that to maximize the realism of the training.

Building Aircraft mock-ups is just another way for pilots to "sense the realism" of the training in preparation for the real thing (blowing up real aircraft and not mock-ups).

The problem is this..

We have published information referring to the "Donnelly Assault Strip" as an active military airstrip unveilled for pilot training . Everything we see in google earth matches up with that.. Everything from the parked aircraft to the characteristics of the landing strip and how it involves an elaborate system of taxiways and locations clared of trees and brush for aircraft parking.

We also have an Air Force E-4 who has come on ATS to post that she was just there after the aircraft she was on landed there and that it is an active military airstrip used for practice take-offs and landings (Any photos of this location Would ROCK by the way!).

I even posted some photos taken at the airstrip a little earlier. One of them shows a C-17 taking off amid a massive plume of dust. One of them shows a parked C-17 and a Fire truck.

I found some more photos here:

Delta News Web - July 2008 - PHOTO OF THE DAY 24July2008






On July 17th, The DNW published a photo of the first landing of the C-17 at the Donnelly airstrip. I happened to be passing Donnelly Dome right at that moment and, being an Air Force vet, I was a little surprised to see the activity out there. Here's a few of the first take off.

Photo Courtesy Scott Skaleski


So Even if it is just for training purposes, this is an active operating location in use by the military (for real aircraft).

The Air Force only uses aircraft mock-ups for weapons training and I imagine probably 99% of the time they're gonna end up a bunch of tiny pieces of wood and debris scattered amidst some pretty large bomb craters from any number of conventional bombs and/or missiles used on them.

Point is.. They're not gonna to use a large sum of taxpayer dollars to build an airstrip for practice take-offs and landings (real ones) only to turn it into a crater-ridden landscape filled with twisted bomb debris and other wreckage. Especially if they have things like equipment, fuel/fuel trucks, etc. out there.

Granted, it IS on a part of Gov-owned land inclusive in the larger Donnelly Training Area. I originally said it wasn't in my first post because none of my maps show the entire Area all the way to the Little Delta River. I assumed that what was shown in the online maps and PDF's I have was the entire training area which just isn't the case. But finding ANY maps of Donnelly Training Area turned out to be kind of a pain.

This particular landing strip was apparently built specifically for Air Force pilot and flight crew training.

Anyway, I actually called up the Black Rapids complex that runs Donnelly Training Area one day and specifically requested any maps they might have of the Area. What the Army guy basically said was.. "We don't have any". And, ironically, he referred me to using Google Earth for looking at the Training Area (That's when I discovered the odd-looking aircraft parked at the airstrip).

-ChriS



posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 03:43 AM
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reply to post by zorgon
 


NICE!!


I work on a military installation and even have a somewhat reasonable explanation I could use for being out there.. But even I wouldn't think of attempting it. My involvement with the government and the military is strictly for official business purposes only. Anything other than that, I might as well be an idiot with a deathwish. My suggestion: Noone should even attempt it.


I prefer to maintain a certain level of privacy (as many of you do, I imagine) and that kind of attention I have no desire for, if you know what I mean.

-ChriS



posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 04:08 AM
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Originally posted by RoofMonkey
reply to post by BlasteR
 


Care to elaborate on the dirt runway aspect of it?


Yes.
Here's what I've been able to gather so far.

The runway was designed and built with a very specific kind of training in mind. It is now deemed "Donnelly Assault Strip" and I'm guessing that's because it's meant to be used for "Assault" style takeoffs and landings of Air Force aircraft.

Hence, it was designed with a rough, dirt surface. It is specifically meant to simulate roughed-out landing strips at forward operating locations. My guess.. The military never had a location up here to do this kind of aircrew and pilot training before. So they built it to fulfill a very specific training purpose: To prepare pilots and flight crews for landing and takeoffs at forward operating locations in places like Iraq or Afghanistan.

The first aircraft to ever land and takeoff from there was a C-17 (see images in one of my previous posts of this event).

Usually what happens, the Air Force will set up a forward operating location and prepare a roughed-out landing strip if a cleared-out landing zone doesn't already naturally exist (Mainly for logistical purposes, at least at first). They'll also set up some very basic infrastructure and start shuttling-in vehicles, equipment and personnel to man the camp/base. They've done this since the Korean War. They did it in Afghanistan too as things ramped up there, militarily, after Sept. 11th. I almost got to go to Afghanistan to a forward operating location like this after Sept. 11th when our squadron was tasked to go there with some of our A-10's and F-16's but I ended up not getting the orders to go. My grandfather was once stationed at a forward operating location like this during the Korean conflict too. He's got a story or two to tell..WOW!

Anyhow, the images of the aircraft in google earth are DEFINATELY not C-17's (but you already knew that).

-ChriS



posted on Sep, 8 2009 @ 04:12 AM
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Originally posted by BlasteR My suggestion: Noone should even attempt it.


Ah well then we won't speak of our Area 51 adventures




I prefer to maintain a certain level of privacy (as many of you do, I imagine) and that kind of attention I have no desire for, if you know what I mean.


So 'Plan B" the drinks are out too huh


They got one of these dirt strips in Australia too... I wonder if Google has done an update there yet



posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 05:25 AM
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Originally posted by BlasteR
reply to post by ajsr71
 


There are a few problems with the idea of aircraft-mockups for bomb runs (for training purposes).

Despite the fact that the mock-ups in the photo you posted are nothing like what we see in Google Earth,



Goggle Earth pictures are 4 YEARS OLD!!!!!


The Air Force uses (and has used) just about eveyrthing for bomb training purposes at the Ranges adjacent to Eielson AFB. For Red-Flag training purposes, these ranges are used just as they would be for standard training sorties for aircraft actually stationed there. Cope Thunder sometimes involved dropping/firing live munitions (live conventional bombs and/or missiles) which always occur at one of a few different range areas near Eielson AFB. When I went through Airman Leadership School (ALS) I met a guy who worked in CE and his job duties were based around maintaining the bomb ranges and setting up targets for the pilots. Sometimes they'll use old, broken down vehicles like humvees and pickup trucks. Sometimes they'll actually set up a mock convoys.. Stuff like that to maximize the realism of the training.

Building Aircraft mock-ups is just another way for pilots to "sense the realism" of the training in preparation for the real thing (blowing up real aircraft and not mock-ups).

The problem is this..

We have published information referring to the "Donnelly Assault Strip" as an active military airstrip unveilled for pilot training .

Everything we see in google earth matches up with that.. Everything from the parked aircraft to the characteristics of the landing strip and how it involves an elaborate system of taxiways and locations clared of trees and brush for aircraft parking.

We also have an Air Force E-4 who has come on ATS to post that she was just there after the aircraft she was on landed there and that it is an active military airstrip used for practice take-offs and landings (Any photos of this location Would ROCK by the way!).

DONNELLY ASSAULT AIR STRIP ( DAAS) is about six miles south of Fort Greely , it is a Single runway with short ramp area?
These are pictures of the C-17' at DAAS on the ELMENDORF AFB web site. Looks like Donnelly Dome in the background and were most probaly taken by the airforce photographer who posted in this thread.

C-17 AT DAAS

C-17 Taking off from DAAS


I even posted some photos taken at the airstrip a little earlier. One of them shows a C-17 taking off amid a massive plume of dust. One of them shows a parked C-17 and a Fire truck.

I found some more photos here:

Delta News Web - July 2008 - PHOTO OF THE DAY 24July2008






On July 17th, The DNW published a photo of the first landing of the C-17 at the Donnelly airstrip. I happened to be passing Donnelly Dome right at that moment and, being an Air Force vet, I was a little surprised to see the activity out there. Here's a few of the first take off.

Photo Courtesy Scott Skaleski


So Even if it is just for training purposes, this is an active operating location in use by the military (for real aircraft).

The Air Force only uses aircraft mock-ups for weapons training and I imagine probably 99% of the time they're gonna end up a bunch of tiny pieces of wood and debris scattered amidst some pretty large bomb craters from any number of conventional bombs and/or missiles used on them.

Point is.. They're not gonna to use a large sum of taxpayer dollars to build an airstrip for practice take-offs and landings (real ones) only to turn it into a crater-ridden landscape filled with twisted bomb debris and other wreckage. Especially if they have things like equipment, fuel/fuel trucks, etc. out there.

Granted, it IS on a part of Gov-owned land inclusive in the larger Donnelly Training Area. I originally said it wasn't in my first post because none of my maps show the entire Area all the way to the Little Delta River. I assumed that what was shown in the online maps and PDF's I have was the entire training area which just isn't the case. But finding ANY maps of Donnelly Training Area turned out to be kind of a pain.

This particular landing strip was apparently built specifically for Air Force pilot and flight crew training.

Anyway, I actually called up the Black Rapids complex that runs Donnelly Training Area one day and specifically requested any maps they might have of the Area. What the Army guy basically said was.. "We don't have any". And, ironically, he referred me to using Google Earth for looking at the Training Area (That's when I discovered the odd-looking aircraft parked at the airstrip).

-ChriS


[edit on 9-9-2009 by ajsr71]

[edit on 9-9-2009 by ajsr71]

[edit on 9-9-2009 by ajsr71]



posted on Sep, 14 2009 @ 03:08 AM
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HI ALL!
Just wanted to come on and give a quick update on my efforts.

Earlier tonite, I sent out to get the exact date the photo was taken with the airplanes.

The particular photo with the airplanes in google earth is copyrighted by "Digital Globe" as of 2009.

I decided to go directly to Digital Globe and see if I could track down the image data. So I used their "Image Search" feature and zoomed in close to the location of the airstrip itself.

IRONICALLY, the airstrip is actually labeled here as "Sullivan Airstrip" right here on their map.. Saved a screeny.



Anyhow, I zoomed in to the general area of the airstrip and did an image search through their database.

You can see the results for yourself HERE .

I then browsed each satellite image, individually, in an attempt to track down the exact image used in Google Earth.

BUT I FOUND IT!!
The image in google earth is THIS ONE :
"Digital Globe" image Catalog ID#....101001000461D400D
Date Image was Taken....................2005/7/19

Keep in mind Google Earth only used a portion of this particular image.
The image is shown in Google Earth as being copyrighted by Digital Globe in 2009 (specifically for Google Earth purposes?) but the photo was actually taken 4 years earlier in 2005!! The maximum resolution provided by Digital Globe for this image is extremely lacking. Google Earth still provides a hundred times better resolution for this image.

There is only one other "Digital Globe" image here with the airstrip in it other than the one used for Google Earth.. THIS one. The resolution is extremely yucky even at maximum. But it does show the entire airstrip at the far bottom right-hand corner of the shot.

To me, it was really unexpected that these aircraft at the Sullivan Airstrip / Donnelly Assault Strip were photographed in 2005. I had always assumed that since the copyright date was 2009 that the image must've been recent. That just isn't the case. We know these aren't your normal, everyday airplane and we also know they're not mock aircraft for bombing/missile training sorties. Not at an active airstrip in use by the Air Force for pilot and aircrew training. That wouldn't make much sense. But you would also think that after 4 years, the gov would've noticed it's supersecret airplanes right on the internet for all to see right? I mean, I guess you never know. But that aspect of it doesn't make sense to me either. So, The 2005 image date just confuses everything.

-ChriS

[edit on 14-9-2009 by BlasteR]



posted on Sep, 14 2009 @ 03:38 AM
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reply to post by ajsr71
 


You know you can make your point without having to quote an entire post like that right?
Really confusing like that.

But, just to acknowledge what you posted, yes I know that now. The image was taken in 2005. We even have the exact date as documented in the "Digital Globe" database (see my last post). They also have all the information regarding angle of the satellite, which satellite took the image, etc..

What I don't understand is why you are using the age of the photo to support the argument that these are somehow mock airplanes for target practice.

The mock airplanes you were talking about were for ranges surrounding Eielson AFB anyway right? Why would that have anything to do with an active airstrip, 40-50 miles away? The Runway was apparently active in 2005. Wasn't the airstrip activated in 2004?

They're not gonna turn the place into a crater-ridden landscape only to have to make all that work for themselves to prepare the strip for actual takeoffs and landings. There are many ranges up here the Air Force can use for bombing mock airplanes without purposefully making hundreds of thousands - millions of dollars of extra work for themselves. That wouldn't make alot of sense.

-ChriS



posted on Sep, 14 2009 @ 02:36 PM
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The aircraft in the sat. image looks like a concept of PAKFA.

files.abovetopsecret.com...

But it's hard to tell, certain features look the same.

[edit on 14-9-2009 by oconnection]



posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 11:45 AM
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Really looks like an F-4 Phantom to me.

Second line.



posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 02:25 PM
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Originally posted by BlasteR
The particular photo with the airplanes in google earth is copyrighted by "Digital Globe" as of 2009.


Nice Sleuthing Ace


Errrr cept we already had that... from Stoo... when I made the comment it might be a mistke


www.abovetopsecret.com...




posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 04:58 AM
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The name of the operation has escaped me, but I remember reading about how the Canadian forces had a mock set-up of Aircraft, Tanks and deployed huge loudspeakers and searchlights to try and get in contact with UFO activity that was frequenting the area.

The operation was granted and for some time scientists (in a Close Encounters movie type scenario) tried to get a response from the craft that were seen, but to no avail. The project was discontinued soon after.



posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 04:40 PM
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Originally posted by zorgon

Originally posted by BlasteR
The particular photo with the airplanes in google earth is copyrighted by "Digital Globe" as of 2009.


Nice Sleuthing Ace


Errrr cept we already had that... from Stoo... when I made the comment it might be a mistke


www.abovetopsecret.com...



Indeed, but I went off checking other aircraft on the ground in different locations over the world and over different timespans on google earth - the measure tool in GE is still accurate.

Not only that, but he size of the aircraft consistent over the available timespan available in GE (different pictures of the area over a considerable timespan)

Combined with the different locations, the different timespans, and different aircraft, the odds that the original pic contained normal sized aircraft, and was the result of an error in the photo stitching, are vanishingly remote..

Try it - pick different grounded aircraft all over the world over different time periods (use the time-line slider control), measure the aircraft using the measure tool, then compare to the listed stats for the type, you'll find that the measurements are easily within statistical margins of error.

The compared size of the aircraft in question are much, much smaller than the suggested types.

The most obvious solution to the quandary is that they are simply reduced scale mockups for training purposes, which also ties into the available evidence found by ajsr71..

But by all means, disregard all the evidence, go nuts and create some elaborate theory that it's some ultra-black hidden test site run to keep in touch with aliens run by the NWO


No wonder ATS is having a hard time being taken seriously..

*shrug* back off to the more sensible areas of the board for me..



posted on Oct, 6 2009 @ 06:02 AM
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Perhaps a UAV unit was training there at the time? If a C17 can practice rough filed t/o and landing, why not a UAV? Just a thought.
As a side, I don't know of any "operational" UAVs that look like that. Maybe the UCAV undergoing arctic condtions testing?



posted on Oct, 10 2009 @ 09:15 PM
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Originally posted by drock905
Really looks like an F-4 Phantom to me.

Second line.



I was thinking along the lines of the A-4 Skyhawk. Decommissioned versions used as chase planes in the Red Flag exercises.


# Length: 40 ft 3 in (12.22 m)
# Wingspan: 26 ft 6 in (8.38 m)
# Height: 15 ft (4.57 m)
# Wing area: 259 ft² (24.15 m²)



posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 12:45 PM
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reply to post by BlasteR
 


I'm way late on this, but tail N959BP is registered to ConocoPhillips. Probably makes sense that it'd be in AK. As for the trucks 'following', they could either be providing ground support, or just happened to be on the 'zipper' at the same time as the a/c was taxiing.




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